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Do's And Don'ts Are Helpful To Know

Many sources discuss the various do's and don'ts in china.There are plenty of resources available to you online and in print.It's always a good idea to review before every trip to china, just to refresh your thinking.Here are some of my favorite reminders: shaking hands is a common practice.Greet chinese people by saying "ni-hao," which means hello.Don't take offense when a chinese asks you how much money you make, how old you are (what year are you in the chinese zodiac), how much you weigh, or if you are married.These questions are seen as nothing more than getting acquainted.You should give some personal information such as where you went to college and about your family.At a chinese banquet, never eat everything on your plate; always leave at least a morsel of food behind.Eating everything on your plate implies that your host didn't serve you enough food, a harsh insult.Never leave your chopsticks propped up in your rice bowl as they look like the sticks of incense that chinese burn at family graves.Chinese do not tip.The price you agree to pay for service is the one you pay.Some tourist hotels will add service charges to your restaurant bill.Chinese don't stand in line.They prefer to push and shove.Forget being polite if you are trying to get in somewhere.Avoid political discussions.Chinese are very uncomfortable hearing criticism of their political leadership or their government.Study the tenets of confucianism, which influence everything chinese.Never give a clock as a gift.A clock is a symbol of time running out; in other words, impending death.Always wrap the gifts you bring, preferably in red and gold.The colors white and black are associated with death, so choose different colors.I usually put the paper and ribbon in my suitcase and wrap the gifts after i arrive, so they look neat and fresh.Never give scissors or knives as they symbolize the cutting of ties.If you are approached by young women wanting to "practice english," beware.They are probably associated with the communist party and gathering information about you, or will take you to a restaurant for tea where they get a commission.Learning a few words and phrases of chinese helps.Learn how to count to ten and how to say "thank-you," "hello," "good-bye," and "where is the toilet?" don't just take a person's business card and stuff it in your pocket.(westerners are so guilty of shoving business cards across the conference table like frisbees.) receive each business card formally with two hands and study it with interest.This is a sign of respect.Chinese business people have different ideas about time.Things happen when they happen, and westerners must learn not to get upset when there is no agreed schedule of events.Change your westerner paradigm about time.Recognize that despite all of your research, data, market analysis, preparation, and strategies for closing the deal, what is going to matter is people with guanxi.Avoid embarrassing anyone.Never disagree, argue, contradict, poke fun at, joke about, be sarcastic about, ridicule, correct, or discipline anyone in public because these things will cause a chinese to lose face.Always praise people in public.Understand the power of reciprocity and how it relates to guanxi.If you are a consultant, be sure you are on a regular payment schedule.It is very difficult to get chinese to pay on time, if ever.Don't be a seagull (swoop in, crap all over, and fly out).Plan to spend time and make many trips to build relationships.Learn how to tell when chinese are saying no.Chinese don't like to give direct negative answers.They might say "maybe" or "i'll think about it," but never "no.".

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